Book Review: Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage by M.C. Beaton

Agatha Raisin and The Murderous Marriage is the fifth book in the Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton.

Quick Review (read on for full review)

My favourite from the series so far.  Fast-paced, easy to read and, of course, very entertaining. 4 / 5

Summary (from Goodreads)

Two husbands and a funeral!

The morning of Agatha’s marriage to James Lacey dawns bright and clear. But the storm clouds of the day before would have been more appropriate when Agatha’s first husband, Jimmy Raisin, turns up at the church just in time to keep her from committing bigamy. The ensuing uproar – Agatha tries to strangle Jimmy, whom she had thought long-dead anyway – embarrasses James, who breaks the engagement.

When Jimmy is found murdered the next morning, Agatha is the perfect suspect. Since the easiest way to clear her name is to find the real murderer, Agatha convinces James to help her investigate. But will their subsequent close proximity – which has them, ironically, pretending to be man and wife – be enough to win James second time around?

Favourite Quote

The rendering of ‘Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina’ was, Agatha reflected sourly, music to stun pigs by.

(Agatha Raisin and The Murderous Marriage by M. C. Beaton, page 92)


Just a note: I have done something I don’t very often do: read books from a series out of order.  The reason is that I have so many books and they need reading and reviewing and then rehoming before their numbers reach critical levels 😉  So, I made the decision for some of the series I’m currently reading to read the volumes I have rather than waiting to buy the missing ones.  As someone who prefers to read actual books over digital ones, and purchase books from actual shops rather than online (I know, I like to make life difficult), it makes finding missing volumes harder…

The last book from this series that I read was book three, Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener (see my review here), meaning I have skipped book four, Agatha Raisin and The Walkers of Dembley.  Of course, there is some information I have missed in doing this, however, I was surprised at how well this, the fifth book in the series, read.  I would say you could read it as a standalone and still understand all that is going on.

I love these books.  They are easy to read, don’t require much concentration and are just so funny.  This one might be my favourite yet.

The past and the present clash horribly in this instalment, with disastrous consequences for Agatha’s future.  There is a lesson here in never assuming anything – especially that your first husband, who you haven’t heard from in years, must have died.  Even if you hadn’t read the book summary, you would have guessed what was going to happen.  Poor Agatha!  You might guess who the culprit is early on – I did – but reading the unfolding story is fun and entertaining.

In this book we are given a glimpse into what made Agatha the woman she is, the answer being her childhood / young adulthood.  She has come through a lot to get where she is, and it is easy to understand how she comes across as abrasive and driven.

The pace of the story is quick, and as always, I love the setting.  The Cotswolds and its picture perfect image is a wonderful setting for a cosy mystery series. But it is the characters that make the story.  Bill Wong is always a favourite but Agatha is the star of the show.  Flawed and often the cause of her own trouble, you can’t help cheering her on.  She is definitely one of my favourite women sleuths!


Update: I re-read this in its proper order in December 2020. I thoroughly enjoyed rereading it, and have nothing much to add to the above review except that I prefer reading these books in the order they were written. Lesson learnt.  And, this book seems to be very quotable.  As I re-read it, I bookmarked three passages for the “Favourite Quotes” section of the review.  One was the one included above.  Here’s another:

The only thing she could do was move back into the anonymity of London with her cats and wait for death.

(From Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage, page 39)


7 thoughts on “Book Review: Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage by M.C. Beaton

  1. Pingback: Bookish Reflections – December 2020 | Sammi Loves Books

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley by M.C. Beaton | Sammi Loves Books

  3. Pingback: Bookish Reflections – October 2019 | Sammi Loves Books

  4. Pingback: Book Review: Agatha Raisin and the Curious Curate by M. C. Beaton | Sammi Loves Books

  5. Sounds like fun! And what a dramatic scene, to have the missing husband show up at the wedding! You can really only get away with something like that in a comedy or in horror (or in a soap opera), because it’s so over-the-top coincidental. But how perfect for a cozy mystery!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.